Reicks View Farms’ Fix to False Alarms
January 21, 2023
Senior Content Manager
False alarm calls are the unwanted gift that keeps on giving. After a while they start to get tuned out, and oftentimes, silenced altogether to put a stop to the nagging. But as The Boy Who Cried Wolf fable goes, the next alarm call might not be one to ignore.
Justin Haught, project designer at Reicks View Farms, oversees more than 200 sites across the enterprise, including nurseries, finishing units, and boar studs. The persistent issue of false alarm calls compelled him to start looking for a better barn monitoring solution.
“If it’s a Saturday night at 10 o’clock and you’re out bowling, and you get the same alarm that you’ve gotten the last three days prior when nothing is wrong, that’s an issue,” he said. “At the end of the day, there's still an expectation to resolve that alarm, false or not.”
Reicks View Farms needed an alarm with greater visibility so managers and growers no longer had to question whether an alarm was legitimate.
“BarnTalk was an easy system to look at. We needed something that was user-friendly, a good looking interface, something that works, and something that was budget-friendly.”
In many cases when rooms are being washed out and turned over, Justin says human error has triggered non-urgent alarm calls. Alarm thresholds were sometimes adjusted after a room was emptied out, but never reset to the normal parameters. With their old system, distinguishing between high-priority and nonessential alarms was impossible.
Justin says having remote visibility into alarms at their fingertips is allowing them to see how immediately an issue needs to be resolved.
“The remote visibility from BarnTalk could potentially save somebody an hour trip one way just to react to an alarm."
Even growers who are using flip phones can receive alarms in real-time, something Justin said was a key feature he valued when looking into BarnTalk.
Cross-Comparing Controller Data
With an ever-increasing amount of data driving production decisions across the industry, Justin says BarnTalk data has provided their enterprise with additional value. Reicks View is using a number of different smart controllers in their sites, which serve as their primary source for tracking production metrics. BarnTalk is now being used as a tool to help verify controller readings and complement their approach to data collection.
“If you forget to write something down, you have visual data. BarnTalk can help diagnose health problems that require data to make educated decisions on.”
Justin also says BarnTalk is helping them prevent health issues in their pigs instead of strictly being reactive once they are sick.
Greater visibility and access to data has been beneficial to the company as a whole, but Justin says it's also been advantageous to their growers.
“It puts a little bit more power in their hands, and then it empowers them to be able to make decisions.”
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Jake installed BarnTalk on his 4,000-head finishing site last summer to get hands-on experience with the system and quickly learned it provided “good checks and balances against the computer system sensors.”